tips to create a successful customer referral program

15 Best Tips to Create a Successful Customer Referral Program

When you want to improve sales, you have to focus on boosting repeat sales before acquiring new customers. After all, keeping an existing customer can be up to 5x cheaper than obtaining a new one!. A referral program is one of the best ways to motivate existing customers to purchase and acquire new customers. A well-structured referral program rewards customers for sharing your brand and letting their peers buy from you. In addition, this reward can inspire them to buy repeatedly through discount coupons. To help you out, we have compiled 15 tips to create a successful customer referral program.

Let’s start with the basics first.

What is Referral Marketing?

What is Referral Marketing?

Referral marketing is the act of amplifying the word about a product or service through a business’s existing customer base. Referral marketing usually occurs organically, with or without marketers’ involvement. But it is the role of the marketer to influence the process so that more people will evolve as brand Advocates and share about a brand with their family and friends. 

15 Best Tips to Create a Successful Customer Referral Program

Here is a list of some of the best tips to create a successful customer referral program.

1. Research how referrals are coming to your business.

Firstly, you have to assess from where and how referrals are coming to your business.

This is where you have to involve marketing, sales management, support, and anyone who would be accountable for developing customer relationships and evaluate how they’ve been dealing with referrals, and it will give you an idea of where you already are.

Also, consider implementing no-code platforms to streamline the referral tracking process, providing valuable insights into the origin and effectiveness of your referrals.

You should also understand the worth of the existing customer. According to referral marketing statistics, on average, referred customers’ lifetime value is 16% more than that of non-referred customers, so it’s worth doing a calculation to understand how much referrals could yield and modify your marketing spend accordingly. 


2. Tap the product reviews market

Tap the product reviews market

Your many potential referees are already out there in the form of product reviewers and influencers in your niche. All you have to do is convince them that your referral program is the genuine deal and let them publish their honest opinion on your products. This referral marketing subset is known as affiliate marketing. Then, go beyond the positive reviews and onboard those customers with negative reviews to bring parallelism to your affiliate marketing program and show credibility.

3. Determine your ideal customers

Determine your ideal customers

Before you start finding customers to seek out referrals, you should first identify what an ideal customer looks like. That way, your existing customers will refer prospective customers to shop from your business instead of listing out names to get the program’s incentive. It is one of the best tips for a successful customer referral program. So, make sure that these descriptions are placed right at the forefront of your customer referral program. It will remind participants that you’re looking for precise individuals who want your product and not just someone who might be interested in your business.

4. List your possible referral sources.

Make a list of your loyal customers, who are also known as advocates. These advocates can be anyone you’re already connected with in the past. Start listing them out. It could possess current customers, past customers, leads that may not have closed, industry leaders, your vendors, etc. This will provide you with a strong footing to start with.

5. Send timely reminders

Send timely reminders

If you are a seasoned marketing professional, you must know the importance of retargeting. 

Put your prospective referees into distinct buckets – top performers, active, slightly active, inactive. Depending on their activity, you can remind them about the benefits associated with the referral program. Moreover, emphasize the fact that more referrals will get them more rewards.

Apart from that, send a feedback form to those who have stopped referring now. If there are specific concerns about the program, make sure you address them and make relevant changes. In addition, you can engage past referees by showing seasonal rewards, loyalty bonuses, and quirky goodies. Finally, remember that spacing out your email and SMS reminders and combining email with SMS is essential. Otherwise, you might end up in your customer spam box.

6. Leverage the power of social media

Leverage the power of social media

In the era of social media, platforms like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms are relevant to your business. 

Studies have demonstrated that social media can improve brand trust and loyalty. Post frequently, reply to comments and run engaging contests from time to time. Employing such measures will ensure that your referral program becomes a success.

7. Set up tracking.

No matter what your company size is, you should have a tracking set in place as it will make sure that you don’t miss one detail — for referred accounts particularly. It would be best if you track:

  • Who was referred and who referred them
  • When they were referred
  • Whether or not they converted or were sold
  • Who needs to nurture and follow up with them, etc.

So, if you have not invested in a CRM (customer relationship management) system yet, it’s time to have one. Keeping track of customer relationships plays a major role in customer success as it allows you to individualize each account or relationship that makes every customer feel a unique part of your base.

8. Consider customer referral templates.

It is one of the effective tips for a successful customer referral program so, consider using it. Whether you have a one-person customer referral machine or a component of a multi-person referral team, templates help you throughout the process. You can adjust them to match the voice and tone of your brand and use them by anyone in the company that requires them.

You can use free customer referral templates for creating a:

  • Referral request emails.
  • Referral follow-up emails.
  • Social copy about the business’s referral program.
  • And more.

9. Time it properly

Timing is everything. Therefore, make sure you have an excellent marketing plan and the best individuals to execute it. Try to find out the right moments in the user journey to pitch your referral marketing program. As per the experts, the best time to ask for referrals is when your customer buys your products. Not only this, make sure you send a thank you message while inviting customers to recommend or gift the product to a friend. Additionally, leveraging platforms like Bountii can enhance your referral strategy by listing your offers and coupons on it. 

10. Design a great landing page

Remember that the best-performing landing pages are neat and uncrowded. So, avoid bombarding your visitors with blocks and blocks of text. There are higher chances that they’re more interested in the reward and won’t read it all anyway.

Now, you must be wondering how to cover all the necessary information in your referral program? The answer is by adding an FAQ section. It allows you to thoroughly define your program without loading the initial messaging and call to action. Plus, you can quickly update your referral program FAQ section to incorporate new details or customer questions.

11. Include eye-catching images and visuals

The very first thing that grabs the customer’s eye before reading anything is the visuals. So, make sure you use images and other style elements to capture a customer’s attention and visually demonstrate more about your referral program. So, make sure you use authentic images and other style elements Whether you’re utilizing custom graphics to direct customers through the referral process or adding a photo to exhibit the actual reward, visuals are a wonderful way to show a more intriguing program. You can also use images to break up any lengthy text and keep your referral promotion easy to read.

12. Thank customers with an invite to your refer-a-friend program

Showing gratitude is a great practice; There are a few ways through which you can thank your customers for supporting your brand. Firstly, by giving them an opportunity to earn rewards! Along with a heartfelt note of thanks, an invitation to come and join a refer-a-friend program is an excellent way to nurture relationships with your customers. It will not only make your customers feel appreciated and recognized but also be more open to engaging with a brand they already know and appreciate.

13. Make sure the program is discoverable.

If you have an eCommerce website or store to your website, add a referral program section and ensure it’s easy for customers to discover. Consider all the mediums your customers have access to. For instance, are the subscribers of an email newsletter? are they directed to a thank you page after purchasing a product? Therefore, consider every communication channel, add a referral link and share your program. Here are a few other key spots to mention or link to your referral program:

  • Newsletter
  • Your homepage
  • Website menus or ad space
  • Email marketing campaigns (in the body or included in your signature)
  • Blog posts
  • Thank you or confirmation page 
  • Invoices
  • Flyers or other printed collateral



14. Retarget customers who have already shown interest

Retarget customers who have already shown interest

Some customers are curious about your referral program but are not joining it. They might be in the middle of another activity or simply forgot to sign up.

Therefore, retargeting or sending them a friendly reminder may act as a nudge they require to move forward and join your referral program.

Moreover, with the referral software tool, you can also customize your referral program and retarget your customers. 

No matter which way you think it is best, it’s always worth reaching out directly to consumers who are already inquisitive in your program.

15. Follow Up on Your Referrals Quickly.

When you grab a great deal, make sure you take advantage of it immediately. Also, don’t let your referrals wait for too long, or you might end up losing these new customers.

Remember, when your customer may have referred another person to your business, they may have referred them to other businesses as well. Apart from that, you don’t know what research the referred customer has done on their own. Therefore, the sooner you can create your impression, the more likely you’ll be to seal the deal.


These are some of the best tips to create a successful customer referral program


Designing a customer referral program takes a lot of work, but it will drive prospects with a higher probability of converting into customers, even loyal customers. So, here are the above-mentioned best tips to create a successful customer referral program. So, look closely at your current referral program and make the required changes to implement referral best practices.


Shivani is a content writer at InviteReferrals. She writes SEO articles, blogs, and guest posts for businesses to improve website ranking on SERP. She follows a balanced approach for the quality of content and its marketing. She loves to do creativity, although she had an English major in her graduation.